APPEAL FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION -- DISTRICT 04, PARISH OF LAFAYETTE, NO. 10-02915. SHARON MORROW, WORKERS' COMPENSATION JUDGE.
Jeffery F. Speer, Doucet & Speer, A Professional Law Corporation, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: Homer Landry.
Patrick A. Johnson, Allen & Gooch, A Law Corporation, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES: Employers Insurance of Wausau Petroleum Helicopters, Inc.
Court composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Billy Howard Ezell, and Shannon J. Gremillion, Judges.
[15-108 La.App. 3 Cir. 1]
Homer Landry appeals the judgment of the Workers' Compensation Judge (WCJ) which awarded him penalties capped at $8,000, but denied his claim for reimbursement of caretaker or attendant care provided by Mrs. Tena Landry, his wife, and denied his demand to accelerate his benefits. That same judgment awarded him inpatient care not subject to reduction pursuant to statutory fee schedule, other medical benefits, weekly indemnity benefits, and attorney and expert witness fees. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
Mr. Landry was injured in 1997 while employed by Petroleum Helicopters, Inc. (PHI). He sustained a serious head injury that aggravated a pre-existing seizure condition. The injury also damaged his brain's frontal lobes, which seriously impaired Mr. Landry's ability to control his impulses. This resulted in Mr. Landry engaging in behaviors that, by the standards of a man in control of his faculties, would be considered, at best, highly inappropriate and even criminal. Mr. Landry's treating physicians were forced to conclude that, for his own well-being and for society's, he be institutionalized.
In an effort to obtain the appropriate services for Mr. Landry, his attorney and counsel for PHI agreed to retain the services of Dr. Cornelius Gorman, a licensed vocational rehabilitation counselor and certified life-care planner. Dr. Gorman arranged for Mr. Landry to be evaluated by the staff of NeuroRestorative Timber Ridge, a Benton, Arkansas, facility that houses and treats people with brain injuries. Mr. Landry was admitted to Timber Ridge and his course of treatment [15-108 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] there, including environmental engineering and medication, has been successful in helping him maintain impulse control.
Dr. Gorman's life care plan estimates that the cost of Mr. Landry's future care will total approximately $14 million. That plan also values Mr. Landry's care given by his wife at $13,360,000.
Following trial on the merits, the WCJ rendered judgment in Mr. Landry's favor declaring that his treatment at Timber Ridge is necessary and reasonable and ordering PHI's insurer to pay for that treatment. That judgment also awarded Mr. Landry a $2,000 penalty for underpayment of his indemnity benefits, a $2,000 penalty for delaying Mr. Landry's admission to Timber Ridge, and $2,000 penalties for each late payment of several medical bills. All penalties were subject to the $8,000 cap on such penalties pursuant to La.R.S. 23:1201(F). The judgment denied Mrs. Landry's demand for reimbursement for attendant care she rendered Mr. Landry from the date of the accident until his admission to Timber Ridge.
Mr. Landry appeals the judgment's cap on penalties and the denial of the attendant care claim of Mrs. Landry.
ASSIGNMENTS OF ERROR
Mr. Landry assigns the following errors:
1) The Trial Judge erred in its application of res judicata to this case.
2) The Trial Judge erred in its failure to apply the law in effect on the ...